An exposure "technique" for discussion....?

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Hi all

This article came up over at PhotoPxl and thought it might be worth sharing.

I have yet to fully read and digest it and how it may/may not affect how i set exposures (I do not have a separate spot meter!)......though it an introduction(?) to those who might who might want to go further and buy his book.......?

So FWIW
 
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Alan
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I read an article somewhere which argued that exposing to the right was no longer required... but I can't remember exactly why, something to do with sensor tech but I can't remember exactly what, ISO invariance maybe? Maybe Googling will help. ETTR is however a habit that's hard to kick.
 
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Graham
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to those who might who might want to go further and buy his book.......?
Just to say, that as the photopixl site seems to offer the book with training, the book itself is available from here:


Even without a spot meter its worth understanding what is going on and trying out his "without a spotmeter" methods to see if you notice any difference. Not all sensors are iso invariant so aiming for optimum exposure still seems worth while going for when circumstances allow.
 
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Richard
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I read an article somewhere which argued that exposing to the right was no longer required... but I can't remember exactly why, something to do with sensor tech but I can't remember exactly what, ISO invariance maybe? Maybe Googling will help. ETTR is however a habit that's hard to kick.
Yes, ISO invariance, wider dynamic range and the better high ISO performance of many newer cameras has made ETTR less beneficial. The principle still holds good though - for best image quality, stuff the sensor with as many photons as possible without blowing anything important. The best and easiest way to do that is to have blinkies enabled and to understand what they're telling you.

It's really very simple in theory and easy in practise. I tend to glaze over when it comes to graphs and spot meters. They had their uses with film for sure, but basically irrelevant now.
 
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Alan
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Yes, ISO invariance, wider dynamic range and the better high ISO performance of many newer cameras has made ETTR less beneficial. The principle still holds good though - for best image quality, stuff the sensor with as many photons as possible without blowing anything important. The best and easiest way to do that is to have blinkies enabled and to understand what they're telling you.

It's really very simple in theory and easy in practise. I tend to glaze over when it comes to graphs and spot meters. They had their uses with film for sure, but basically irrelevant now.
One thing I have at last got over (mostly) is trying to make sure nothing blows. These days we can see blown areas even if it's only a tiny insignificance in the picture. A completely blown sky is one thing but some small and insignificant thing in the background just doesn't matter. It took me a while to grasp that.
 

SFTPhotography

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One thing I have at last got over (mostly) is trying to make sure nothing blows. These days we can see blown areas even if it's only a tiny insignificance in the picture. A completely blown sky is one thing but some small and insignificant thing in the background just doesn't matter. It took me a while to grasp that.
I expose usually towards the right for a number of reasons

1. I prefer a brighter image anyway
2. In terms of cleanness (I pixel peep) it is cleaner to say add blacks to an image taken at say 1/50th than it is to recover shadows, reduce blacks at one taken 1/80th. Much less of an issue these days and with exposure blending etc probably not a thing at all. I under exposed an image last year and had to really recover 1-2 stops of under exposure. It's pretty clean but there were no 000 values in the RAW and it was quite a low dynamic range/low contrast scene but not one pixel in the exposure was over 150/150/150 (mid tone). Quick levels adustment and it was clean...but the same shot exposed towards the right with the blacks increased is a shade cleaner at 100%
3. I try and avoid clipping but the odd blinky is fine.
 
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SFTPhotography

Ranger Smith
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With today's sensors and the software we have available, I'd suggest that this kind of detail is probably overkill.
Don't know actually - I tend to expose to just avoid clipping the lightest point then just pull in if need be. At higher ISO's it does give cleaner results and if you pixel peep it does show. I found some shots in my bin, ISO200 - usually useless but they were exposed right over to the right and the blackest pixel was 25% in. Quick up of black point to make this 10% into the chart and job done. Clean as a whistle. It isn't quite like that the other way.

In the article these are all very low contrast, low dynamic range scenes. For what you, and indeed I shot - it just isn't relevant as the scenes landscapers shoot tend to cover the entirety of the histogram range, or most of it -even using GNDs
 
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One thing I have at last got over (mostly) is trying to make sure nothing blows. These days we can see blown areas even if it's only a tiny insignificance in the picture. A completely blown sky is one thing but some small and insignificant thing in the background just doesn't matter. It took me a while to grasp that.
That's the judgement call, where skill and experience count with modern digital - what you can allow to blow, and what you cannot.

Say you're taking holiday portraits on the beach. The sky is bright but has some good colour, the sea is gorgeous with sunlight bouncing off the waves, and you have foreground subjects with sun glinting on their bare shoulders and faces. In order of priority, you definitely don't want to blow any skin tones and if you adjust for them the sky will probably also come within dynamic range. But those reflections off the water, they're quite likely to be very bright indeed and would need a lot of adjustment to pull down, meaning that other areas would then be under-exposed. However, we naturally expect specula reflections like that to be very bright, so let them blow, and it'll look fine.

In other situations, there may be similar issues but the priorities would be different. Perhaps later that day, there's a spectacular sunset with wonderful colours reflecting on the sea - all super-bright, and all important. You don't want them to blow, but when you've fixed that anything in the foreground ground is likely to be very dark, even silhouette. Do you let them block up? Maybe you have an ISO-invariant camera and could drag just enough detail from the shadows in post-processing to make it work, or with most cameras it's very easy to rattle off a set of bracketed exposures and merge them in post, ie HDR technique. If there are people in the foreground you could add a dash of fill-in flash, and it would probably look fantastic (it usually does).

They're all judgement calls that would be very difficult (and time consuming) with any exposure meter regardless of skill, but a walk in the park with blinkies telling you exactly what's what.
 

Nod

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In the 2 examples Richard gives above, to ME, it's close to a no-brainer. The subject of the portrait is, well, the subject so it's her or him that should be correctly exposed. Any specular highlights that might be lost because the subject is correct are a shame but relatively unimportant. Similarly the sunset. The colours in the sky are the subject (IMO) so I try to get suitable silhouettes against those colours rather than try to wedge some detail into the scene (details that can't be seen when my eyes are "exposing" for the colours).
 
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That's the judgement call, where skill and experience count with modern digital - what you can allow to blow, and what you cannot.

Say you're taking holiday portraits on the beach. The sky is bright but has some good colour, the sea is gorgeous with sunlight bouncing off the waves, and you have foreground subjects with sun glinting on their bare shoulders and faces. In order of priority, you definitely don't want to blow any skin tones and if you adjust for them the sky will probably also come within dynamic range. But those reflections off the water, they're quite likely to be very bright indeed and would need a lot of adjustment to pull down, meaning that other areas would then be under-exposed. However, we naturally expect specula reflections like that to be very bright, so let them blow, and it'll look fine.
Blowing skin tones? Maybe, if it suites me. I don't know what the dynamic range is of the human eye and brain but one thing I have noticed with my now relatively ancient first generation Sony A7 is that if I expose and process for the highlights I can see things in the final picture that I couldn't see by eye at the time so we have many choices. We can create a final picture which depicts what we see not what we know to be there, we can perhaps capture accurate detail reality including parts of it we couldn't see at the time or we can use some combination of the two or go another way with artistic interpretation.

As you say, it's a judgement call and as I said to a poster in another thread who was concerned about the views of others "It's your picture." Some may do this for money or for likes on InstaFriendFace but one of the advantages of being a hobbyist/amateur for me is that I can do exactly as I want.
 
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Alan
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In the 2 examples Richard gives above, to ME, it's close to a no-brainer. The subject of the portrait is, well, the subject so it's her or him that should be correctly exposed. Any specular highlights that might be lost because the subject is correct are a shame but relatively unimportant. Similarly the sunset. The colours in the sky are the subject (IMO) so I try to get suitable silhouettes against those colours rather than try to wedge some detail into the scene (details that can't be seen when my eyes are "exposing" for the colours).
I was just typing as you posted Nod. That example of a sunset, yes we can have a silhouette or detain in the foreground. The choice is ours and IMO once you know the basics and know what buttons to press all else is arguably just opinion.
 
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